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Management of Drainage Water in Illinois. Overview Defining the problem Introducing drainage water management (DWM) How does it work? Where does it apply?

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Presentation on theme: "Management of Drainage Water in Illinois. Overview Defining the problem Introducing drainage water management (DWM) How does it work? Where does it apply?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Management of Drainage Water in Illinois

2 Overview Defining the problem Introducing drainage water management (DWM) How does it work? Where does it apply? Benefits Planning and applying the practice Available resources 2 Drainage Water Management Illinois

3 A Big Water Quality Issue Hypoxic Zone or Dead Zone Excess of nutrients (primarily nitrogen but also phosphorus and silica) Algal growth organic matter sinks to bottom, decays, consumes available oxygen Oxygen levels fall lower than 2 mg/l 3 Drainage Water Management Illinois

4 Mississippi River Basin Drainage Water Management Illinois 4 N Load, lbs/acre Less than to to to to 27.1 Watershed Average = 2.6 lbs/acre Average Annual Nitrogen Load in Streams

5 Tile drained soils vs high nitrate levels 5 Drainage Water Management Illinois

6 Problem Statement Drainage is needed for economical crop production in many Illinois fields. Tile drainage water is a primary source of nitrate to surface water. 6 Drainage Water Management Illinois

7 What is Drainage Water Management? The process of managing the water table elevation and the timing of water discharges from surface and subsurface agricultural drainage systems. Theory: hold nutrients in field when drainage is not needed for production. 7 Drainage Water Management Illinois

8 DWM on a Tile Line Ditch Raised Water Table Riser Boards (Adjustable) Drain Water Solid pipe Water Level Control Structure 8 Drainage Water Management Illinois

9 Zone of Influence (Impacted Area) Lines labeled 600, 602, and 604 represent elevation contours

10 Nutrient Load Reduction FACT: Less flow from drainage tile Less nitrates to surface water NO 3 + carbon source + bacteria + time = N 2 gas 10 Drainage Water Management Illinois

11 Management Prior to field activities,remove flashboards During growing season, manage water table to provide capillary water to root zone During fallow season, raise water table (within 6 of the surface) 11 Drainage Water Management Illinois

12 Example Management Strategy 12 Drainage Water Management Illinois

13 Types of Tile Drain Systems Patterned drainage Designed to uniformly drain the land Random drainage Mostly in low spots 13 Drainage Water Management Illinois

14 Drainage Management (Parallel System and Flat Topography) main laterals Water level control structure 14 Drainage Water Management Illinois

15 Topographic Map with Tile Map Overlay

16 DWM Feasibility and Limitations Economics Economics Flat topography (0.5% average slope; minimum acre impacted area per structure) Flat topography (0.5% average slope; minimum acre impacted area per structure) Patterned (systematic) subsurface tile system exists Patterned (systematic) subsurface tile system exists Tile map exists Tile map exists Land Use Land Use No negative impact on neighbors No negative impact on neighbors 16 Drainage Water Management Illinois

17 Tile System Considerations Goal: Efficiently drain water for field activities as needed, store water during the growing season to relieve summer crop stress, and reduce nitrogen loss during the fallow season. Pattern Tile Design Flat Land – conventional pattern tiling Sloping Land– design for affected zones on the contour 17 Drainage Water Management Illinois

18 Benefits of DWM As a part of a conservation system, DWM: Improves water quality Documented 35-81% nitrate load reduction in Illinois Improves soil environment for better vegetative growth Reduces rate of soil organic matter oxidation 18 Drainage Water Management Illinois

19 Benefits of DWM As a part of a conservation system, DWM also can: Reduce wind erosion and particulates (dust) Enable seasonal flooding for wildlife habitat 19 Drainage Water Management Illinois

20 DWM Yield Benefits? Research is inconclusive on yield benefits Weather is a big factor – yield improvement has good potential in dry years Anecdotal evidence suggests as much as 10-20% yield improvement in some years 20 Drainage Water Management Illinois

21 Implementation Conservation plan DWM Plan (CAP 130) is a good start Systems approach: suite of practices Nutrient Management is especially beneficial Infrastructure to facilitate management Implement practices from conservation plan Management (active) Plan Design Install Manage 21 Drainage Water Management Illinois

22 Contents of a DWM Plan ID and location info Objectives Maps and delineations Control structure summary table Management instructions Signature page 22 Drainage Water Management Illinois

23 Potential DWM Acres in Illinois Flat cropland Likely to be tile drained Minimum15 acre parcels Simplification: land ownership and tile configuration not considered By the Numbers: 24 million cropland acres 10 million drained ~2 million suitable for DWM 23 Drainage Water Management Illinois

24 Available Financial Assistance Environmental Quality Improvement Program (EQIP) Contact your local NRCS field office for more information 24 Drainage Water Management Illinois

25 NRCS: Helping People Help The Land USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


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